Слике страница
PDF
ePub

a disquisition relative to the conveyance of sound :

Farther by water folk may soundis heir, -
Than be the eirth, the quhilk with poris seir

Up drinkis air that mouit is be sound,
Quhilk in compact water of ane riuier
May nocht enter, but rinnis thair and heir,

Quhill it at last be carit on the ground,

And thocht throw din be experience is found
The fische ar causit within the riuier steir,

In with the water the noyis dois not abound.

Violent din the air brekis and deris,
Sine greit motiown of the water steiris ;

The water steirit, fisches for feirdness flies :
Bot out of dout na fische in water heiris,
For, as we se, richt few of thame hes eiris :

And eik forsuith bot gif wise clerkis leis,

Thair is na air in with waters nor seis ;
But quhilk na thing may heir, as wise men leiris,

Like as but licht thair is nathing that seis.

When a man, says the poet, is deprest with melancholy, pleasure itself is converted into pain : and thus the melody which flowed in so heavenly a strain, only tended to augment my woe. His murmurings however are soon interrupted by the arrival of the court of Venus; which he describes in very magnificent terms. Venus is seated in a gorgeous car, attended by her son Cupid ; who is strangely represented as a man well-formed, and of large limbs. She is accompanied by a band of musicians, whose divine skill even surpasses that of David, though the sounds of his harp are said to have overcome the evil demon that tormented Saul. Mars follows behind, mounted on a " bardit curser stout and bald :"

Euerie inuasibill wapon on him he bair ;
His luik was grym, his bodie large and squair,

His lymmis weill entailyiet to be strang ;
His neck was greit a span lenth weill or mair,
His visage braid, with crisp broun curland hair ;

Of stature not ouir greit, nor yet ouir lang.

Behaldand Venus, () ye my lufe ! he sang :
And scho agane with dallyance sa fair

Hir knicht him cleipis quhair sa he ryde or gang.

Here also are seen every renowned hero and he. roine of scriptural, classic, and romantic story. On witnessing their disport and parade, he begins to exclaim against Venus and all her retinue ; but is quickly dragged from his retreat and arraigned at the august tribunal of the goddess. Her assessors are Mars and Cupid. The accusation is redd þy a “ clerk cleipit Varius," and the trial proceeds in due form. The prisoner pleads that he is a spiritual man, and ought to be remitted to his judge ordinary. But Venus is enraged at this appeal, and commands Varius to write the sentence of condemnation. In the midst of his consternation, the court of the VOL. II.

F

Muses * makes its appearance, and relieves him from his hopeless situation, when he has already begun to expect immediate transformation.

Yet of my deith I set not half ane fie,
For greit effeer me thocht na panė to die;

But sair I dred me for some uther jaip,
That Venus suld, throw her subtillitie,
Intill sum bysning beist transfigurat me,

As in a beir, a bair, ane oule, ane aip:

I traistit sa for till have bene mischaip,
That oft I wald my hand behald, to se

Gif it alterit, and oft my visage graip,

This new court consists of “ wise digest eloquent fathers trew, and plesand ladyis of fresche bewtie.” Some are engaged in rehearsing Greek and Latin histories, others in chanting to the lyre Sapphic and elegiac verse. Homer is the only Greek poet enumerated among the attend. ants of the Muses ; but

? With respect to the genealogy of the Muses, all the editions which I have seen contain a very ludicrous error :

Thespis, the mother of Musis nine.

Douglas undoubtedly wrote Thespia. Thespis is known to every reader of Horace as an Athenian poet ; but Thespia, according to some of the ancients, was the mother of the Muses. “ Neque aliud,” if we may credit Natalis Comes, “ est sane Memnon quàm memoria, aut Thespia quàm divinatio et divina cognitio : id apertiùs etiam declarant nominą illarum Musarum quæ fuerunt ab Aloëi filiabus cultæ ; Melete scilicet exercitatio, Mneme memoria, Aæde cantus.” (Mythologia, p. 769.)

[ocr errors]

Thair tras the greit Latine Virgilius,
The famous father poeit Ouidius,

Dictes, Dares, and eik the trew Lucane :
Thair was Plautus, Poggius, and Persius;
Thair was Terence, Donate, and Seruius,

Francis Petrarche, Flaccus Valeriane ;

Thair was Esope, Cato, and Allane; Thair was Galterus and Boetius;

Thair was also the greit Quintilliane.

Thair was the satyr poeit Juuenall ;
Thair was the mixt and subteill Martiall ;

Of Thebes bruyt thair was the poeit Stace : Thair was Faustus, and Laurence of the Vale ; Pomponius, quhais fame of late, sans faill,

Is blawn wyde throw euerie realm and place*:

Thair was the moral wyse poeit Horace, With mony uther clerk of greit auail :

Thair was Brunnell, Claudius, and Bocchace.

Sa greit ane preis of pepill drew us neir,
The hundredth part thair names ar not heir.

Yit saw I thair of Brutus Albion,
Geffray Chaucier, as a per se sans peir
Of his vulgare, and morall John Goweira

Lydgate the monk raid musing him alone.

Of this natioun I knew also anone
Greit Kennedie and Dunbar yit undeid,
And Quintine with ane huttock on his heid.

* The first edition of Pomponius Mela was published at Milan in quarto in the year 1471 ; but his celebrity had afterwards been aug. mented by the edition of Hermolaus Barbarus, who was cotemporary

with Douglas.

Some of these names are sufficiently obscure or disfigured. By Flaccus Valeriane, Laurence of the Vale, and Claudius, we are undoubtedly to understand Valerius Flaccus, Laurentius Valla, and Claudian. The Gualterus whom he has in view is probably Walter Burley, a celebrated English philosopher who was born in the year 1275". In the time of Leland many of Burley's philosophical works were preserved in manuscript at Oxford and Cambridge ?. His treatise De Vitis et Moribus Philosophorum was twice printed at a very early æra. Vossius, who had seen both the editions, represents it as abounding with errors which to us appear sufficiently ludicrous. The writer whom Douglas has classed with Æsop and Dionysius Cato, may be Allan of Lynne; who, among other works, is said to have composed allegorical and moral expositions of the sacred scriptures. He was a Carmelite Friar, and flourished during the reign of Henry the Fiftha. Of this name however there was a more celebrated writer, Alanus de Insulis, a native of Germany, who flourished about the year 1300. The number of his compositions was almost infi

y Vossius de Historicis Latinis, p. 515. 2 Leland. de Scriptoribus Britannicis, tom. ii. P. 354. a Balei Scriptores Britanniæ, cent. iii. p. 253.

Pitseus de Illustribus Angliæ Scriptoribus, p. 601.

« ПретходнаНастави »